Is your brain wired to pink or blue?
Actually neither, though walking into a children’s department, you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise.
No. Your brain isn’t wired, it’s plastic, but it suits advertising and sales to keep presenting boys and girls in these stereotypes. So let’s look at some of these myths.
Women are shorter, weaker, less clever, financial ignorant, not good at maths and sciences, which are practical rather than empathetic. Generally people have both, but expectations and advertising try to condition girls into pink and boys into moving vehicles.
There are a number of powerful myths which perform dual functions. One is persuade women that they are inferior to men. Just as phrenology and racial purity served to keep black people in subjugation 2 centuries ago.
The other effect is to perpetrate male superiority, in a variety of areas. Yet proven research and facts prove that neither is true. Hard wiring is a myth, determinism on the basis of genes, is a myth. All humans have fantastic potential. Everyone is immensely varied, so the pressure through advertising, and computer classification is dangerous. Not one size fits all, but all people must become the same.
Dumbing down. That way they are easier to manage.
The malleability, the plasticity of the brain, means an infinite capacity for change and achievement. So a woman born with half a brain, was able to train the remaining cells to create the missing parts of the brain. (Norman Doidge. The Brain that can Change Itself)
As to gender determination, the marketeers and advertisers have a lot to answer for. See Cordelia Fine
The Gender Delusion. Another refutation, of “hard wiring” is in Brian Appleyard’s The Brain is Wider Than the Sky.
It has been recognised in scientific circles for the last 20 years, at least, that the brain is plastic.
But hard wiring has become an attractive catch phrase for the press and others have picked it up. It does humanity a disservice.
Tested against reality, the absurdity becomes apparent. But in a world where increasingly one size fits all these myths need examining. So, women are shorter. In fact many Norwegian women are very tall, whereas Thai and Japanese men are often smaller, shorter, largely down to diet or rationing during the war. It is in Japan where people, not just women live longer, it is thought due to diet of largely fish.
Even if you stay within your own culture of Western Europe women and men, just walking down the street of any capital city, will show tremendous variation in height. Weight is another issue. Advertisers and “health professionals” aim specifically at women, self belief and self image. Constantly advertising to “just eat” then weight reduction and diets follow swiftly on. It is easy to manipulate a population in this way.
It is interesting how we look at strengths and weakness. The opening up of some areas of male sport, to women. Women boxing and the Olympics for instance, but quite recently, both the women’s cricket team and the women’s rugby have had great triumphs, while the male equivalents, despite massive salaries for players, have not done quite so well. In fact women live longer, have better health, greater endurance. Ask any woman who has recently given birth about pain and endurance. Yet some women have swift easy child birth. Every woman is different. The latest in male controlling women’s fertility, is the freezing of eggs, from Apple and Facebook.
As for female intelligence, girls generally out perform boys in tests at primary, so that the tests and the results have had to be adapted to show greater male success.
All the concentration of getting girls into STEM subjects overlooks the fact that young girls decide very early on the career paths which they see as unsuitable for females, even if later teachers and careers direct them from Maths and Physics.
However, if your grandmother as well as your grandfather was an engineer, you tend to see engineering, and the accompanying manual skills as well with in your grasp.
So whether you are starting out as an entrepreneur, or looking to change careers, or move further up the ladder, don’t let these powerful myths get in the way. It is well know that women undervalue their talents, and accept lower salary for the same work. Currently under attention in Tesco and Asda. an a triumphant win in Birmingham. The equal pay bill was 1968, and yet women are still earning less. You need to up your game. Make a list with friends of all your abilities, and your achievements, and keep them at the front of your mind. Because you’re worth it.